St. Louis-Lambert Airport Planning to Open Common Use Lounge
A series of documents found on St. Louis-Lambert Airport’s website, accessible to the public, reveals potentially great news for travelers. These documents are addressed to “Prospective Bidders” for a common use airport club. A common use airport club is essentially an airport lounge that is not affiliated with any airline. Frequent flyers likely know common use lounges as “contract lounges.” A common use airline lounge at St. Louis-Lambert Airport could potentially be great news for travelers. Here are the details available as of January 27th.
Bidding is On-Going
According to the most recent string of public documents concerning the bidding process for the lounge, the process is still on-going. Contractors have until early March to submit bids for the common use lounge. Unfortunately, this means that there’s still a lot that’s unknown.
The Lounge Will be Located in Terminal 2
St. Louis-Lambert International Airport has a single airline lounge on its premises. American Airlines operates a fairly large and recently renovated Admiral’s Club that’s accessible to passengers departing and arriving from/to Concourse C in Terminal 1. The lounge is fairly popular among passengers traveling on American at the airport. Other than American’s single Admiral’s Club, St. Louis-Lambert International Airport doesn’t have any other lounges or clubs accessible to passengers. In years past, both Delta and United had attempted to begin construction in Lambert’s A concourse on an airport lounge. Even if either Delta or United succeeded in opening a lounge at Lambert Airport, it still would have left Terminal 2 (the terminal that sees the most passengers) without an airline lounge.
Southwest Airlines is the sole tenant at St. Louis-Lambert Airport’s terminal 2 and sees nearly 3.5 million passengers a year. In the last few years, Southwest Airlines has begun to rapidly expand at St. Louis-Lambert Airport, opening two new gates at the north end of the E concourse. Additional gates are under renovation to accommodate Southwest’s recent growth. During construction on these new gates, St. Louis Airport officials worked to find a space to open a new lounge that wouldn’t be affiliated with any one airline in particular. Bidding is now underway for a 1,994 square foot section of the airport across from gate E31. This space will host the potential common lounge.
It Will Be be Unaffiliated with Any Airlines, Likely Priority Pass Accessible
I just want to add a quick disclaimer that Lambert’s Director of Public Relations, Jeff Lea, has confirmed that bidding is underway and little is known about a potential tenant. I’m speculating on what this lounge or club will likely be based on words and phrases in the documents sent out to potential tenants and contractors.
According to one of the documents on the airport’s website, this club will be designed to be a comfortable and relaxing space for travelers that purchase a day-pass, membership, or have access via a credit card. Essentially, the airport is looking for something like The Club Airport Lounges. The Club Airport Lounges operate lounges across the United States. Some notable clubs include; The Club at LAS and The Club at ATL. Both lounges listed are fairly basic in terms of amenities and, food and beverage. However, both are a step up from waiting in a busy airport concourse. Additionally, all clubs operated by The Club Airport Lounges are accessible to Priority Pass members. A lounge that’s accessible to Priority Pass members (premium credit card holders), allows for day-passes, and is unaffiliated with any airline is exactly what St. Louis-Lambert Airport is looking for.
This Is Awesome News for Connecting Passengers
Southwest Airlines carries most of the airport’s passengers. As I mentioned, in 2015 nearly 3.5 million passengers flew out of Concourse E, the concourse in which Southwest operates. This number rose in 2016 and is expected to continue to rise in 2017 as Southwest continues its St. Louis expansion. With such a large base at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport, Southwest funnels quite a few connecting passengers through the airport. Passengers with layovers on Southwest at Lambert Airport can only visit shops and restaurants in the E concourse, there is no lounge or club available to them. A new common use airport lounge would allow connecting passengers (as well as passengers originating from St. Louis) to have a place to relax in or get work done before a flight.
This is also great news for passengers in general as it would finally put St. Louis on the map of airports with a Priority Pass lounge or club. (That’s assuming this future common airport club/lounge accepts Priority Pass)
As a native St. Louisan, this is great news for the Airport. Nearly 14 million passengers flew through St. Louis-Lambert International Airport in 2016, nearly a 10% jump from 2015. With additional flights on Southwest Airlines debuting this summer, the addition of a common use airport club would be fantastic for passengers that frequent Lambert Airport’s Terminal 2.
You can read the full Common Use Airport Club Solicitation for Bids HERE
Have you traveled through St. Louis-Lambert International Airport recently? What do you think about this new common use airport club?